Friday, June 24, 2011

Aphrodisias - Standing in the middle of this ancient stone stadium I almost felt like I was on a live set of the movie Gladiator.

Of course, actor Russel Crowe in his iron-clad gladiator outfit was nowhere in sight. (Sigh!) However, I was standing in this massive ancient stadium (stadyum) dating back to the 1st century A.D.
Here is the tunnel entrance where I imagine the gladiators would have entered into the stadium.
Located at the north end of the city, the marble stadium is probably the best preserved and largest of its type in the Mediterranean. It’s certainly the biggest one we’ve seen out of all the ruins in Turkey so far.

This imposing stadium is 270 meters or 885 feet in length. In comparison, the average length of an American football field, plus end zones, only is about 110 meters or 360 feet. That’s a huge difference!
The stadium had 30 tiers of seating that could accommodate 30,000 people. In its heyday, I can only imagine all the residents and people from surrounding areas gathering to watch the games here.
Hubby standing on top of some of the seats in the stadium.
According to the site’s sign, the stadium first housed traditional Greek athletic contests such as foot races, long-jumping, wrestling, discus and javelin throwing. Later, the stadium was used for gladiatorial combats, circuses and wild-beast fights. About 400 A.D., the east end of the building was converted into an arena specifically designed for Roman-style entertainments of this kind.
Jason with his mom and dad on the playing field of the stadium.
The stadium has survived many games, battles and probably several earthquakes in its lifetime, but still possesses an impressive aura. Definitely worth a look!

You can read more specific details about the stadium here.

Here is a short video I shot to help convey the stadium’s size. (My first attempt at video, mind you). My Turkish Joys: YouTube

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Sheryl Sparks said...

Very cool -- I had no idea that the stadium was so long! I haven't seen one that shape at all! We are going to have to make that stop a priority.

Joy said...

@Sheryl, you definitely need to add Aphrodisias to your travel list in Turkey. Still one of my favorite sites so far!